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  • Writer's picture Becka Mckiness

Photographing Kids Who Hate Having Their Photos Taken

First off, I am in the same boat! I hate getting my photo taken! I feel vulnerable and awkward. For kids it's the fact they would rather be doing ANYTHING else than sitting still and posing for photos. Do you blame them?

When I first started out doing photos I used my (soon to be) niece for practice. She arrived to the session and flat out said "Becka, I am NOT letting you take photos of me today. I don't really feel like it." She cracks me up! However, it was a major wake up call. I realized I couldn't expect kids to show up ready to listen and do whatever I say.

First came bribes. I always bring a couple small toys with and let them know if they do a good job they will get a prize. It works to a certain extent. However, I get a lot of "fake" smiles or "over-the top" smiles. I wasn't getting the images I wanted. I realized telling kids exactly what to do wasn't going to work all the time.

Now I always start with the posed shots. If a child starts to act up, or the smiles become fake I immediately switch to something else. Sometimes its as easy as asking what they would like to do. I'll ask, "Do you want to take a picture by this barn or over by this tree?" The response is always adorable. A little shy smile emerges as they tell me what spot they like. When we go over to the spot and take the photos they are excited, because it was "their" idea.

After we get some nice shots I move into some fun poses or ideas. One of the easiest things to do is to have the families interact. I will give a short prompt or say some silly things and watch as families open up. These are the reactions and shots that I find to be the best. It gives a glimpse into their home life and what their family dynamic is.

If the child is just tired, cranky, and wants nothing to do with photos I get the parents more involved. Nothing makes a kid crack up more than seeing Mommy and Daddy doing something silly! I usually will have Mom and Dad stand behind me and be as silly as possible. I've never had a child sit through that and not immediately crack up!

Lastly if you have any ideas on how to make your child laugh go for it! If you know your child is super ticklish or a certain word will have them cracking up let me know in the questionnaire. My goal is for your family to feel relaxed and have a good time.

Here is an example of having Mommy and Daddy being silly behind me.

However, after a couple more shots this little girl was completely done with photos. So Daddy picked her up and did some silly faces.

Playing with Mommy is always fun!

Here is an example of how games can help kids loosen up. Here they are playing thumb war.

These two wanted nothing to do with photos from the start. A little time with Daddy is the perfect fix!

Sometimes you have to let "boys be boys."

Sometimes just giving a simple action produces the cutest results. I asked her to smell the flowers. I always crack up over this photo!

In this photo his sister was being super silly behind me.

Letting kids play and have fun is what it's all about!

Peek-a-boo with Daddy. This little girl never sat still for the entire session. I still had to deliver a whole gallery so I got creative with the shots. It ended up being one of my favorite albums!

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